I graduated from the University of Florida in May 2013 with a BS in Chemistry (specialization in biochemistry) and a BS in Psychology. Three months later, I enrolled at UNC-CH with the Fall ’13 BBSP cohort, and joined the Curriculum in Neurobiology, as well as the lab of Dr. Stephen Crews, in the spring of 2014.
Motor neurons are nerve cells that project their axons throughout the body and innervate a particular muscle or muscle. When the motor neurons or their axons are damaged, the transmission between muscle and nerve is disrupted, and the muscle fails to work properly (such as in ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). My work in the Crews lab focuses on neural stem cell differentiation, particularly in motor neurons, using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. I am isolating these cells and gathering transcriptome data utilizing fluorescence-assisted cell sorting (FACS), microfluidics, and single-cell RNA sequencing. Since motor neurons are involved in axon guidance, connectivity, and neurotransmission, elucidating the transcriptional events occurring at a single-cell level will be informative and may suggest novel genes or pathways to look at that are essential to proper motor neuron function and muscle innervation.
Neurobiology Training Grant, 2013-2015